When Saviana Stanescu wrote her monologue “Magda” for a celebration of women’s suffrage in New York, she had no idea it would later be performed at another celebration of women winning the right to vote — this time in the United Kingdom. “Magda, Jo, Isabella,” written with two faculty members from Cornell University, was performed at the National Theatre in London on Nov. 16 as part of “Courage Everywhere,” a celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.K.
“Magda” tells the story of an immigrant domestic worker who lacks the right to vote.
“I wanted to give immigrant domestic workers a voice, to remind U.S. citizens that other people living here can’t express that cherished right,” said Stanescu, an associate professor in Ithaca College’s Department of Theatre Arts. “My monologue is a modest contribution to supporting such voices to be heard, to making ‘invisible’ people loud and visible, for 20 minutes on a stage.”
“Magda, Jo, Isabella,” was originally commissioned by the The Cherry Art Space and performed at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca in 2017 as part of an event commemorating the centennial of women’s suffrage is New York. Along with Stanescu, two writers from Cornell University — associate professor Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and visiting assistant professor Aoise Stratford — contributed monologues to the piece, which deals with issues of race, class and belonging in the suffrage movement.
In addition to the version performed in London and Ithaca, Stanescu wrote several variations of the monologue, calling it “Don’t / Dream.” She also expanded it into a full length play, “Bee Trapped Inside the Window,” which was performed last summer by Civic Ensemble, a public theatre in Ithaca. Ithaca College student Erin Lockett ’20 performed in the production.